HABITS THAT DEVELOP SPIRITUAL GROWTH
One of the healthiest mindsets on “growth” that a person can have is the idea of it being holistic in nature. We human beings are complex in many ways, created with love, crafted beautifully, and masterfully designed by God our heavenly Father. There is more to us than the kind of DNA we possess or the completeness of our organs. More than what is physical, there is also the mental, emotional, psychological, and most importantly, the spiritual.
But as time and experience would tell, these different parts of what makes us human do not always mature at the same pace – or even in the same stage of life.
When we were still struggling to reach the top shelf as carefree kids, we would often find ourselves constantly asking, “When is that growth spurt coming?” As young adults, we would associate growing up with getting older. Our focus was on age as a number and the new set of activities we would then be able to do. But did that mean we would be wiser? And for our dear seniors, people naturally connected growing older with getting weaker. But how do we explain the outstanding athletic feats of people like Julia Hawkins (a 103-year-old runner) and Oscar Swahn (a 72-year-old hopeful at the 1920 Olympics)?
Connecting the dots across what is physical, mental, emotional, psychological, and spiritual is an overwhelming task. But what we hope to share with you in this list below are a couple of habits that aim to develop one of these aspects – the spiritual.
Interestingly, many of these habits for developing spiritual growth can have profound effects on the other parts that make us whole as well.
FOR YOUR SOUL | “Grow by reading the Bible daily”
It is important to fill your soul with spiritual nourishment. The Bible – God’s Word – is a treasure trove of advice, wisdom, stories, and personal journeys that can help you make sense of experiences that you are going through right now. Woven throughout the entire book is also the most beautiful and life-changing message of hope, love, and forgiveness that can bring joy and peace even to the most tired of souls. We encourage you to read the Bible every day.
FOR YOUR HEAD | “Grow by deepening your knowledge of the Scriptures”
The discipline of reading the Bible every day is one thing. It is an entirely different ball game to dig deeper into the lessons, commandments, and warnings found in God’s Word. The Bible is a love letter written with you in mind. We invite you to press further and maximize your brain power by memorizing Bible verses, journaling or processing your insights from the day’s reading, and discussing your realizations with family, friends, or your Bible study group.
FOR YOUR HEART | “Grow by living a life full of love”
While we pray that you will begin to see the positive changes in your life from reading the Bible every day, our greater hope is that the people around you will see your transformation, too. The love that pours out from God’s Word is incomparably abundant to any known natural reserve or source of energy we can find on earth. How amazing it is that the Lord has given us such a precious gift! We call upon you to exercise those heart muscles some more and really make it a point to live a life full of love. A simple smile goes a long way to the tired security guard on your way to your building’s elevator. Saying “thank you” to your irritated classmates can even soothe and calm them in some way. Your friends will also appreciate your care and concern for them. These simple acts of love are habits that have long-lasting impacts on your spiritual growth and faith journey.
FOR YOUR HANDS | “Grow by living a life of service”
Loving the people the Lord has brought into our lives is often paired with action and service. A verbal “I love you” combined with a tangible involvement in another person’s life is powerful, and it expands your heart to make room for more people. Growth does not happen in a vacuum – in the same way, growing spiritually in your faith journey is not a lonely endeavor. One of our many prayers for you is that you get to experience more opportunities where you can practice selflessness. There are many examples in the Bible of people with incredible character development as a result of developing this habit.
FOR YOUR FEET | “Grow by living a life of obedience”
Any talk or experience of growth is never easy. When muscles break and tear to form new ones, it is never a smooth experience for the person feeling the pain. When a student fails an exam because of the decision he made to not study well, the grade that he will get is a learning experience that can catalyze the growth or maturing process in his life. So, whether the growth is an expansion (Ex: growing more patient) or a contraction (Ex: becoming less proud), we hope that you respond in trust and obedience to the Lord. If you experience fear, resistance, or even anger, then we encourage you to come closer to God and tell Him all about it. In these intimate conversations, you can begin with the questions, “Lord, where do you want my feet to follow? Where are you leading me?”
FOR YOUR BODY | “Grow by taking care of yourself”
A body that has had time to rest, recover, and rejuvenate can be an unstoppable force for the Lord in His ministry. We sincerely want each of you to be at your physical best. Sometimes all it takes is basic maintenance – sleeping the right amount of hours, drinking the water needed by your body, eating at the proper times, and knowing when to clock in and out from the day’s activities. Offering our bodies as living sacrifices to the Lord is another habit we can develop for our spiritual growth.